Viral Media Online

Women were dying from childbirth at hospitals. This 19th-century doctor figured out why.

Today, we know that washing our hands is one of the most important steps we can take to avoid getting sick and spreading germs.

But how we came to know that is pretty fascinating.

Image via iStock.

Handwashing is actually a relatively new practice — even for doctors.

In fact, one of the first doctors to realize how important handwashing could be — Ignaz Semmelweis — didn’t discover this fact until 1847. And even after he did realize it, the battle to convince the rest of the medical community wasn’t easy.

The 19th century has been described by some historians as “a golden age of the physician and scientist” because for the first time, doctors were expected to have scientific training.

They were also expected to use symptom-based diagnoses to solve medical ailments. And to…

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